Mail mix-up won't affect Air Force contract selection

Tuesday - 11/23/2010, 5:04pm EST

No significant fallout is expected to come from a clerical error that mixed up assessments on the Air Force refueling tanker. That's the position taken by top officials at the Pentagon, Bloomberg reports.

Air Force officials said Sunday that the mishap will not affect the selection of a winner for the $35 billion contract. They said the two competing companies - Boeing and EADS - were mistakenly sent a limited amount of data on each others' offers. Those offers are still under government review.

Sean O'Keefe, chief executive officer for EADS' North American operations, told Bloomberg he believes the mix-up was an honest mistake and that the Air Force responded promptly to it by sending out the correct assessments.

O'Keefe said the Air Force asked for additional information from both companies last week, saying that was a sign the process isn't shutting down any time soon.

As the process appears to move forward, the Air Force has fired two people involved in the mail mix-up, Associated Press reports.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz called the mistake a "profound disappointment."

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